California Lawyers Now Have A Duty of Diligence


By: Greg Fayard

The prior rules of professional conduct for California lawyers required them to be competent but were silent on also being “diligent.” Under the latest version of the rules, California lawyers now have an express duty of diligence. (Rule 1.3) That is, California lawyers can now be disciplined by the State Bar for neglecting or disregarding a matter.
The State Bar, after all, is a consumer protection organization, and its focus is on protecting the public from unscrupulous or incompetent lawyers. It is not a trade association that promotes lawyer interests.
Hence, California lawyers now have a duty “to get the job done”—the new duty of diligence. Lawyers should therefore stay on top of their matters and not let them languish. Doing so could expose the lawyer to a State Bar complaint.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Greg Fayard at, or any other member of our Lawyers Professional Liability Practice Group, a list of which can be found at